DETECTIVES are investigating the theft of a cash machine containing a large sum of money after a vehicle was smashed into a shop.

It is believed that at around 3.30am, a gang of six men entered the store on Cambridge Road and stole a freestanding ATM machine.

They loaded it into what is thought to be a white van before fleeing the scene.

Detective Constable Mick Bowes said: "While this incident took place in the early hours, the shop is near a busy road and I'm appealing for anyone who saw a white van or a dark coloured saloon in the area.

"Both vehicles were seen in the area before the incident and were seen driving away following the theft.

"Officers are examining CCTV from the area and Crime Scene Investigators have attended the scene to forensically examine it.

"I would urge anyone with any information about this incident to contact St Helens CID on 0151 777 6812 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."